Types of Compensation

If you are involved in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, it is natural to desire compensation for all the expenses that result from the accident. Fortunately, the law agrees with you. Whoever is responsible for causing an automobile collision is also responsible for compensating everyone who was impacted by the accident. In a perfect world, the driver’s insurance will cover all damages. However, this is not always the case. You probably have a lot of questions about getting the compensation you are owed, and this guide will answer those questions.

The Basics

The law states that whoever is at fault in the accident must fully compensate everyone who suffers damages as a result of the accident. This includes all types of financial losses, including medical bills, repairs to vehicles, damage to other types of property, lost wages due to missing work, and more. Essentially, if it cost you financially, the responsible party must compensate you for it. This is because you are guaranteed the right to be returned to your financial situation exactly as it was prior to the accident.

Filing a Lawsuit

If the other driver is unable to, or unwilling to, compensate you, your best option is to file a lawsuit against him or her. If you go this route, the first thing you should do is speak with an attorney. In a lawsuit, there are some terms you should understand about the compensation you will be fighting for. There are essentially three types of compensation:

  • Special compensatory damages
  • General compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages

Special compensatory damages cover all financial losses with an exact dollar value. For example, if your medical bill is $5,000, then it falls in this category. It does not matter what the type of financial loss was; if it had an objective value, then it is special compensatory damages.

General compensatory damages cover all non-financial losses. It is subjective what the dollar value of pain and suffering is, so it falls in this category. The judge will rule how much the defendant owes you for general compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are assigned strictly to punish the defendant. These are rare in personal injury or car accident cases. However, punitive damages are commonly assigned if the driver was drunk. If the defendant receives punitive damages, he or she will have to pay you an amount determined by the judge.

Remember, if you plan to file a lawsuit, you should first have a long discussion with an attorney, like a car accident lawyer in Tampa, FL from Jeff Murphy Law.